On April 4, the LG Twins celebrated their regular season title with a victory over the Lotte Giants in the 2023 Shinhan Bank SOL KBO League at Sajik Stadium in Busan.
The game didn’t get much attention because it was the first regular season title in 29 years, but it was actually the first save of the season for LG’s Choi Dong-hwan.
LG gave up a home run to Yoo Kang-nam in the bottom of the eighth inning, but bounced back in the top of the ninth. With a slim 7-6 lead, LG brought in Baek Seung-hyun to pitch the ninth after the eighth. Normally, it would be natural to bring in a ninth inning closer, but this was a different situation. Go Woo-seok and Jung Woo-young had been called up to the Hangzhou Asian Games, and Ham Deok-ju was out of the lineup due to injury. He was forced to turn to Baek Seung-hyun, but he started to falter after giving up a single to Jeon Jun-woo. 토토사이트
In recent years, LG has turned to veteran Kim Jin-sung to bail them out in times like this, but after pitching two innings two days earlier, it was a tough outing for Kim. Eventually, another veteran, Choi Dong-hwan, took the mound and got the first batter, Lee Jung-hoon, to fly out to second base to give him a breather. However, he walked Yoo Kang-nam, who had hit a home run in the previous at-bat, to load the bases with two outs. Kim Min-seok stepped up to the plate, and he induced a grounder to the pitcher before roaring out. It was Choi’s first save of the season and the fourth of his career in his 314th appearance for LG.
With Choi’s save, LG has now had eight pitchers record saves this season. Go Woo-seok (15 saves), Park Myung-geun (5 saves), Ham Duk-joo (4 saves), Lee Jung-yong (3 saves), Kim Jin-sung (3 saves), Baek Seung-hyun (3 saves), Yoo Young-chan (1 save), and Choi Dong-hwan (1 save), the entire bullpen, not just the winners, but also the chasers. It’s amazing that LG is not a team with no closers and is in a group closing system, and that they have national team closer Ko Woo-seok.
Baek Seung-hyun, Yoo Young-chan, and Park Myung-geun all recorded their first saves this season, so the new structure is near perfect. As pitchers with no closing experience get a taste of success, they are stepping up their game.
While the other nine teams felt the limitations of their depth and struggled to find pitchers to fill in, LG clinched the regular season title with a strong bullpen, despite missing last year’s top closers Go Woo-seok and holdout Jung Woo-young during the Asian Games.
This season, LG’s bullpen is a collection of specialty middle relievers who can pick up saves when the game is on the line. With a strong bullpen, LG is now looking to win the overall title.